tv C-SPAN Weekend CSPAN August 30, 2009 2:00am-6:00am EDT
bored and wanted somebody to come and entertain them, and the president's wife was the right person to do that. so she did a little bit of entertaining, regular, weekly entertaining, in the draft deal barn until they left town. of course, it was no surprise when the election was lost, it was happening at the same time that their son charles was dying. it was no surprise that when he died at -- this was an interesting moment in the hbo series on adams, which i have very mixed views about. but this is a telling, telling of mission. which is -- this is a telling ommission. they have in that movie and sang, "he was no man's memory -- enemy." what he actually said was he was no man's enemy except his own.
which is a very different meaning. and he was a drunkard, and he did die at all at the same time that there were those in the election and having to pack up and go back home. of course, what was a surprise to her was the tie between thomas jefferson and aaron burr, and it was a long, drawn-out process before that settled, from the time of the election to the time that the house of representatives broke the tie. interesting, as you heard from pat, people would come here all the time. mrs. washington was constantly having to receive people because one of the things that a politician would do is go see mrs. washington. .
>> abigayle was forced to leave town before the election was settled. the weather was getting bad and they did go through a violent snowstorm, which made her very weary. but not so weary as to have lost my curiosity about the fate of the election. when she got to philadelphia, and the church bells started ringing to celebrate the jefferson victory, she was horrified that the bells were
tolling for an end -- and infidel president. there was a lot of snow and ice and a lot of places that were dangerous. louise had tried to stop her. abigayle said that she was accustomed to get through many a trying seen in combat many difficulties alone. and that was true. she had been. leaving washington and leading political life me that that would never be true again. she would finally have the rest of her life with her husband that she loved greatly. she would not be on her round ever again. that was some consolation but i think that she wrote a really wonderful sort of been addiction to him as she left. she wrote this letter to her
son, thomas. as she did so, often, she thought through what would come next, and she understood that turning over the experiment of america to the next generation, to the children, which was literally, was going to be a very tough moment for the family. as she contemplated that, she said that she leaves the unfolding of a drama. i leave to posterity, to reflect upon times past and i will leave them characters to contemplate. she was certainly one of those characters we should continue to contemplate. thank you. [applause] >> good afternoon.
it is a pleasure and privilege to speak to to buy favre populations, teachers and lovers of this place. i would like to thank sali for introduction, her very well researched introduction. i would like to thank her, but now i know why i never get invited to monticello. there is a mystery solved. i am here to talk about dolley madison in times of challenge in crisis. dolly madison continued and built upon the work of martha washington and abigail adams. their mission was to put into practice the abstract theories of governance designed by the
men of the founding generation, to translate the theories behind the constitution into real life. the american revolution ushered in more than just a new form of government. transforming what the founders would call society, and what we would call coacher, was invested in political power and a virtuous citizenry. spring boarding from the ideas of the thinkers of the scottish enlightenment, which included adam smith, the founder steer rise in a new nation, manners could be more important than laws and they counted on the women of the ruling class is to secure the nation through manners. that is the context in which we can understand the work of the first ladies and can talk more about that later if you wish. let's situate dolly in a time frame. thomas jefferson won the election over john adams and
brad james and dolley madison to the new capital city in 1801 so that james could be his secretary of state's. . it is not accurate to say that she was a first lady. jefferson did not need a first lady. his plan was to severely limit society in washington and to keep women out of it. because of his policy, the madison's house became the center of the city and the government. when the madisons' came to the executive mansion in '89, dolly had been building her bases and her network for eight years. that was a good thing. because one cut almost characterize james madison's to terms with the theme of our panel, "challenge and crisis." his presidency was full of it. his primary political goal was
unity in all forms and contexts. unity had always been a goal and a concern. certainly, the new americans worried whether the republic would hold together, whether there would be a united states. by the madison administration, james and dolley still worried about the external enemies and in their case, the country of great britain, aided by spain. they were much more worried about internal divisions. thomas jefferson was not alone in considering his state, rather than the whole united states as his country. such awareness of regional difference made for a fractious and uncooperative congress.
more troubling were the partisan violence, not just in congress but two of the nation. such division was supposed to have seized by 89, but it was accelerated. remember, these are men that did not believe in a two-party system. for them, there was only one common good and one obvious way to rule and anything else was not an informed dissent, but treacherous. the problem with early america, is there are two groups that believe that. james madison is head of the republican party and about what to do. politics had deteriorated from the unanimity under the great washington, very dangerously away from the waters. the victory of thomas jefferson should have eliminated the opposition as he safely steered the ship of state back on course. but, instead, the violence and partisanship increased so that
in 18 09, james and dolley have the republican party disintegrating under their feet and it would continue to do so through the two terms of the madison presidency. what was happening, though no one understood it, was that the political system was developing its signature two-party arrangements and they did not understand that this was necessary to build a democratic nation state. dolly tackled this unity in a demonstrable way. before dolly and benjamin restructured the mansion, which became known as the white house during her tenure, there was no one place in the city were all members of government, let alone their families and local community could meet. mrs. madisons weekly wednesday night drawing room was the only place that legislators, officials and their families could gather. and under her watchful eye, they learned to work together in a
bipartisan ways. she brought them together to work out their differences, not in the spotlight of congress, but in this year. -- in this sphere. they began to see their opponents not as caricatures of evil, but as human beings with their own ideas of the public good. it was at dalis house and no where else on that -- it was that dolly madison house and nowhere else that they could build that class. it was more important when you considered how violent politics really was as cokie roberts route -- alluded to. this was an era when men beat each other with canes and shot each other over politics and not just in the streets, but on the congressional floor. they could do so in the house
and the senate, but they had to be on their best behavior and a lady is a social event. but diyala did not just depend on conventions of civility. she insisted on them. she modeled stability and unity she became famous for not provoking any contention to the point that if people were speaking badly of others, they would cease when they heard the click of her high heels. when jonathan roberts noted, "by her department in her own house, you cannot discover who or her husband's friends or foes." he was seeing her action -- for policy and action. she turned authentic parts of herself into political persona. she may personality a tool policy. make no mistake, telling madison was a fierce republican partisan, but should temper her
private feelings for what she saw as the public good, her husband's goals. she became so skilled politician that some accused her of hypocrisy. as some observed, i do not see it possible to know what her real opinions are as she is all things to all men. if that is not a description of a politician, i do not know what is. james had identified unity as the chief crisis of the nation. dolly assumed her personal feelings to smooth contention and bring people together. nowhere is that more evident than in the role she played in the doing scandal over 1811 gwen john epps was enraged that during a debate, that he was called out.
dollied load the john randolph because the spread those nasty sexual rorumors. challenging someone to a duel with in the walls of government was a shaming and shocking event in the eyes of most of the world that thought doing a sen. though she probably would have happily let them bleed to death on the capitol steps, and dolly intervened and converted the dual into an accommodation amazing everyone. national pride was salvaged in a turf war was averted and all the honor of the affair remains with mrs. madison. we have a lot of stories like that. but there is another reno we have to pay attention to. look at dali's work because this was the business of the federal government at that time. -- look at dolly madison work
because this was the business of the federal government at the time. during the infamous affair when jefferson had so insult to the british minister and his wife, they swore off going to the executive mansion all together. but they would attend private dinners at the madison's house. it is not because they liked or trusted james madison more than jefferson, but by casting the dinners as social and by making herself amenable, she made it permissible for them to attend. so, in the years before the declaration of the war of 1812, the business of diplomacy with great britain took place not at the presidential table, but at dalolly's.
she was not a successful diplomat because she liked people, but she worked at like a professional politician. she did not particularly like elizabeth married. she thought her a strange lands. she hardly associates with anyone, always riding on horseback. but she never missed a chance to keep the business between the families open. when elizabeth admired dollar madison's perfume, she did it to her. when she fell ill months after the affair, elizabeth declared herself foreigners. dolly madison's activities magnified. one could see the war of 1812, which was declared during the madison administration as the ultimate failure of unity. european relations have broken down and domestic political rivals used to the declaration of war and then the board itself as a way to break down the
government. such efforts culminated in the heart of the convention when federalist newfoundland -- new england threatened to secede. she provided more social events, more access to the officials fear. she celebrated the few heroes of the conflict to washingtonians and to people across the nation. she became the sisk -- the symbol of patriotism. again, we can talk about one out work. we all know about her most dramatic act which was saving the portrait of george washington from the almost burning the white house and the reason that quickly became a legend was because she had been acting in a symbolic capacity with a bash at the very beginning of the conflicts.
her wartime efforts and the way she sold the useless treaty of peace, helped americans express nationalism. one of the puzzling things that we do is to dean james madison's presidency as a near disaster as he came very close to losing the country, both inside and out. the cnn polls were george washington is no. 1, james madison is always politely in the bottom third, but in 1817, when the madisons' retired, the retired in a blaze of glory. while they were placing -- praising the man, unity. it john adams was not the most generous guy.
he said that did madison had been tripwire board lori and established more union and washington, adams and jefferson put together. how do we explain this? >the answer is dolly. she often acted as for the criticism of james. -- as a lightning rod for the criticism of james. as a politician, james could not work for unity, but dolly could. the country was left with a sense of nationalism, pride and good feelings. the victory was as much dolly's is it was james'. one of the reasons it has been hard to see her work and to assess it is because she did not win.
her efforts at diplomacy failed. and the country went to war and except in individual cases, she did little to mitigate the masculinity of the day. but, just because she did not win does not mean she was not right. this is the second point. in her words and deeds, in the way that she behaved in treated people at her party is, she brought a new language to the table of early american politics, a pen and vernacular of sentiment, and an insistence on civility. she brought glove and into the into the political discourse and in doing so model before us the political behavior that allowed the participants to see each other as for human beings. her model of bipartisan process, one that emphasized cooperation over coercion, that built bridges instead of bunkers, with
an emphasis on stability and empathy proved necessary for building a modern democratic nation state. the men of her day could not envision by partisanship. they did not even have a word for it. men regularly fought and murdered each other over ideologies. that dolly could envision politics of cooperation and power sharing, it marks her as the most modern politician of her time. this model, this way of facing a crisis and challenge is her last and give to the nation. thank you. -- her lasting gift to the nation. thank you. >> thank you, it is very kind and generous to be here on my first visit to mount vernon. as a lincoln scholar, we are very aware of these polls and
rivalries. i am pleased to be among such distinguished colleagues and to be so warmly welcomed by such a beautiful sight. i would like to try and give you the crises of mary lincoln's role. since there has been a book of day a book a day published since appomattox, that would not fit into my cyme my time slot -- my time slot. there was an exhibit on ms. lincoln. she is someone who is still recognized by the public as someone who had a good deal of trouble during her time and a lasting legacy is that, in this year of the president's bicentennial, abraham lincoln is
having a 200th birthday and people still fishe is -- still feel she is a character. there may have been a seed planted during her husband's presidency. earlier, someone touched upon the idea that women could not really predict their role when entering into the white house. i did find one comment where marion started with lincoln, however i try and lay out an educated guess -- the egg -- educated guess that mary would not let a human sacrifice come between her and her talking about mr. lincoln's role in the white house. she was a true political partner.
why is it that so many of the lincoln biographers continued to talk about her as someone who has been blamed for many of lincoln's problems? i can cite several of them, but i do not want to give you a historical explanation, but she was the daughter of the blue grass. her family was a steamed and political. she had ambassadors, senators and governors in her family. she believed that when she did finally marry mr. lincoln after a great deal of controversy, her family suggested that mr. lincoln came from a life where his family was not worth much more than the in dirt floors that they came from. she stood by him as his partner. she had 10 years of formal education to his one.
she had political connections all over illinois and after two failed senate races, when the votes were counted for the presidential election and lincoln did, indeed wind. he told the men at the telegraph office that he had to go home. he said that there was a little woman at home that would be more interested in this dispatch that i am. he said, mary, we are elected. even though his election was a triumph, it was quite a trial. death threats, paintings of lincoln's death were predicted by many who did not welcome his election. once they were safely in the willard hotel, lincoln was preoccupied with the business of organizing a government and
mrs. lincoln had to organize for trial. after all, she was the wife of the president that was located outside of the original kahlah bonis -- the original colonies. it was said that lincoln resemble the irish doorkeeper. i have to tell my students in ireland that that is not meant as a compliment. [laughter] it is reported that ms. lincoln was loud and unrefined. this is what she was up against. i used the term mary lincoln because we did have the occasion to meet and discuss the biography of dolly madison because we were talking about the top connection -- the todd connection. whenever i started working on my research and said i was writing
on mary lincoln, and they would say who? it seems like it was the early 20th-century wendy todd family began to commission that todd be inserted. this does not mean that she was not proud of her family heritage. she was indeed someone who treasured the program. there was some trouble with the family. the inaugural ball in 1861 was seen as a great coming out party where the cave dwellers of washington would come out to observe miss washington -- miss lincoln.
i am especially fond of the pearls that she is wearing in a famous portrait of hers. we see that it is not known exactly when, but we do know that abraham lincoln slip into tiffany's when the train was coming on the way to washington and bought for his wife, ac paroled -- a seed pearls set at a cost of $530. we do know that he was honoring the way that she had pledged herself to him and after more than 20 years, they were headed to the white house. lincoln stayed on, dancing into the night. mrs. lincoln's a stream grace one compliments from thousands. the new york herald observed that she is more self possessed
then lincoln and act as a, dated more readily than her taller half. so, we know that she was on trial during this period. there was a boycott by southern women. mrs. lincoln surprise washington to become bell the ball and the snubs continued. a british journalist found that there were only two ladies in the drawing room when i left. i was informed afterwards that attendance was very scanty. the washington ladies have not yet made up their mind if mrs. lincoln is the fashion. they draw comparisons between them and the vulgar yankee women that are in power. following the firing on fort sumter, lincoln's call to arms,
the first lady was drawn into a more famous whirlwind it, but too severe disadvantage. the white house was seen -- [unintelligible] we know that her male was read in advance and everything that went in and out of the white house, both to protect her and from scandal that there was a rebel spy in the white house. she had half brothers serving in the confederate army and half sisters married to confederate generals. all this led to press disasters of mammoth proportions. i do suggest that she was the first first lady. it was said that the telegraph would drill every time she left the white house.
-- would trill every time she left the white house. she was coming in with young children and you wanted a house were the of the nation that was under siege. certainly, she thought it would be more democratic to have a large ball rather than the receptions that were held. you mentioned the addams house not be much larger than this. the lincolns and house was much smaller and she would invite 302 parties. she thought she would keep people blowing through. -- flowing through. she had her weekly public reception, but she thought it would be nicer to have a ball. this first ball in 1862 was a public-relations disaster. it was, at that ball, that the
illness of her son, willie, would be prolonged and he would die shortly after. i want to try and keep in mind the context of the times. i was up in the berkshires, and visited a home built by the morgan stanley and there on the wall was a portrait of morgan with his japanese bride. i was trying to imagine what it would have been like if we could see -- what if it had not been a sign of the morgan family but rather the roosevelt family that was in the house with his japanese bride in 1941. what with the nation have thought of the president married to someone who was from the enemy? the tragedy of mrs. lincoln's wife. on the other hand summer boycotted the white house and he
was struck down on the senate floor he was concerned with this abolition of slavery. he was a great friend. he attempted to play partisan politics but never quite found her way. it was always a mess step ahead of the game. but i do try to say to let's try to conceptualize her legacy today. i suggest and many of my colleagues prevented me from doing a recent work that i was going to call "what if both had been a bad shot -- booth had been a bad shot?" if it had been misled in that had been shot, how would we look at her? what'd be a reconciliation in the death of the southern woman who stood by her husband's side of to allow him to become the savior of the nation?
if we did not know, it is prudent to imagine that filtering out all the comments about her very tragic, sad leaving of the white house and her very tragic wondering, that her years of being a widow was such that she could find no peace in the loss of her husband. what would be our estimation of her role of we could take out the shadow of the assassination and what followed? sterling, i would suggest, and moving up the ladder to climb with each platt -- passing anniversary. i do suggest that she spent her many final years champion and her husband. we know about the episode of her incarceration in a sanitarium
when her only remaining child, robert, during her -- his mother might do herself armarmy, confid her. again, i do not think she recovered from that. she was at war with herself. she failed miserably in the court of public opinion. she was brilliant and lot of what once. her husband -- we do not have the thousands of pages of records, we have very few letters, but we have letters from her son, robert, who collected his mother's letters. there are rumors that the great at his home were full of ashes of correspondence. we do know that they did disappear. we do not really have much in which to give you testimony of
her wit and intelligence, but from her writings, i assure you that she was a woman who loved her husband deeply and she is sustained his growth to greatness. that she was a woman that stepped outside the boundaries of her time and suffered for it. she endured more personal loss and public humiliation than any other woman of her generation. near the end, she would define all odds. he slipped to the ring on her finger, love is eternal, and with that pledge, the lincolns' made their path forward. we know that the lincoln legacy grows and grows with each passing year. i suggest that now that he has become so eternal, it is no
reason to continue to regard her as infernal. but rather, we should look and say that the glory of his legacy is attributable to her passion. i was quite struck on inauguration day in 2009, looking at the china at the inaugural luncheon, where there is a gold band encircled by blue and gray ribbons which ms. lincoln chose as the symbol of her presidency it -- of his presidency. a reproduction, but triumphant in 2009. thank you, very much. [applause]
help moderate this conversation. we will hopefully take some questions from the audience and i will ask you to speak as loudly as you can and i will try to repeat your questions so that everyone can hear it. our first question? what i can get it started a somebody does not want to. >> when we hear about her lab as wardrobe, can you elaborate but she was aware that the press was criticized? >> one of the secretaries daughters was so concerned that he wanted her to go to the hospital with the press which she was doing, privately. she wanted them to be brought back to the white house to eat cake. she decided not to let them eat cake. she refused to advertise her
good work. she did go, in 1861, to look at furnishings for the white house and indeed bought shawls along the way, but in my research, i found that mr. lincoln was the only member of the lincoln family to have store-bought clothes before they came to washington. she had all of her dresses made and made them herself, many of them. she hired a dressmaker and she was the first person in the white house after the inauguration. this lavish spending that was reported in the press, i suggest needs to beat contextualize and put up against other types of spending. for example, i do telling story -- i do telling story of -- i do tell a story as if she were
hoarding. that is what struck me first. secondly, what was she buying that was so alarming? gloves. >> she wasshe was taken as somee who was gauche. it would take people back. she was someone who would stand in long lines and she was there when the thousands went to the white house. one of the major crimes against her was that she bought 12 dozen gloves in march of 1865. i suggest that rather than seeing this as part of a criminal conspiracy, it is cheaper to buy in bulk and she was looking ahead to the next four years in the white house. on the other hand, i suggest that she did suffer from spend encouraged -- spend and purge.
she very much regretted the spending and then after her widowhood, she tried to get rid of much of what she had bought during her time in the white house and what had been given to her. we are in very different times. people would give her a diamond brooch and that was the southern style of gift-giving. now we would say it was bribery. lincoln took hats and gifts. in some ways, i try to contextualize that. she clearly did go wild, being able to go to new york, not as a lawyer's wife but as first lady and having all these storekeepers come out to her carriage with still lovely goods, promising to build her later and when the bills came due, like many women, she was not willing to share the cost with her husband and tried to hide her spending pattern and that led to what is clearly --
she was characterized in the press as having a shopping disorder in the 18th 60s -- in the 1800's 6060's. i heard that the dolly madison would like to go here cases and some of the justices were always excited about her being in the court. why do you think she would take the time to do that? >> dolly madison is very famous for her presence on the washington scene and what she would do is take parties of ladies into the seat of government whether it was to watch debates on the floor of the house or whether it was to watch supreme court case is being argued -- case is being argued -- cases being argued.
there were often alter their style. at one point, there was an eloquent speech and then mrs. madison and her ladies would come in and he would start again for her. the person who commented said he did it with a few more flowers. i do have to bring up a diamond broker commented on the ladies in the gallery. he declared them as public women. i do think there is something else. that is exactly right. she was a public woman, but it
is also true that there was nothing else to do. a lot of the women came to congress and the supreme court because that is what you did. if there were big debates, they still before is so much that there was no room for the members of congress. there were a couple of public within who were let in and it was something of an embarrassment. >> i think we have to look at this language of public women. i remember being at a history conference and saying that i was born to write on public women and one of my colleagues said that women got into politics. the term was used as a woman stepping outside the boundary and was then labeled a public woman and that public-private divide that is artificial when
we know there were parlor politics and women were influencing, not whispering on pillowcases, but having passionate, partisan politics. when mary todd was not attracted to stephen douglas, she did not like his politics. that was what a lot of the new work fails to elucidate. >> i heard him mention many times that many visitors came to mount bergmann -- mount vernon. was martha washington a financial wizard? how did she maintained the estate for years without him? >> thousands of visitors came to mount vernon and the question was if she was a financial
wizard. >> there are two parts to that question. was she a financial wizard? probably not. when she financially astute, yet she was. that is shown from the time she was a young woman in her twenties when her first husband, the rich husband, died. she was left with by plantations to run and to take care of as well as a great deal of cash. she made very careful investments and she kept books on them and when lawyers acted in ways that she did not like, she would call them to account and she went to their office and confronted them. it is the whole question of a public woman. she hitched up the horses and went into town and confronted the lawyer in his office. i think he was more scandalized by that the by what she had to
say. she did not have to go out in public, he could have gone to her. she was financially smart. in the later days, she did not live that much longer than he. it just 2.5 years. it was not that there was a lot to manage. things were in relatively good shape. but she was a fabulous hostess and she saw herself as a private historian of the war and the private historian of the presidency, but she was there at the foundation and she could tell people about that. we spent hours with mrs. washington is what they would say and that she brought it all live and that they understood how was. that is what she thought her job was, to publicly, in her house, but nonetheless, publicly tell strangers how what was and what
the foundation was. >> you know, if i could jump in, this is the second time you have brought this up. what do we get from studying this one and -- of these women -- what do we get from studying these women? i think that what it does, it is the power of the every day. we have the great series of government. when we try to put this into everyday practice, all kinds of interesting things,. one example that i would think of is that if you would look at the, you discover what i think of as the dirty little secret -- if you would look at the women, you would discover what i think of as the dirty little secret. they have all fought this big american revolution.
they still secretly craved what america stood for. it was the only vocabulary of power that they knew. the only way to show that a new nation could be legitimate, you had to have an aristocracy. john adams would argue for titles, but they were realizing that they had one of -- they had won the war. we see this when we look at women. we did not call george washington your highness, but we called him mr. president. but we called mrs. washington madam washington. his wife was queen valley. -- queen dolly.
you uncover these other stories that are part of the american story. >> the first ladies put a human face on the presidency. the idea of the presidency is a wonderful idea, but we like to look at pictures and like to think about people. it is why i think there is such obsession with what they wear. what can you say about yet another navy blue suit and red tie? there is a limit. but with the women, there is a personalization and almost a feeling of knowing them. >> that is where martha was so smart. she shows up in new york to become the first first lady and she loved her saddam's and silks, but she won -- she wore homespun. that is such a p.r. stunt. >> that was at one time. she did not do it all the time.
>> to arrive in new york in homespun is just brilliant. >> in your book, you talk about the role of washington. you talk about how everyone's families were here, republicans, democrats, and similar to these first ladies, their families were there and they could not travel home. it would be a great imposition. but nowadays, senators go home on the weekends and their families are not here. chiefs of staff go home on the weekend, how has this dehumanized the political scene? >> it has, and it is sad. it is also true that we can to -- weekend -- we can'ten tod
romanticize that. i think it had everything to do with the war. it was a time of bipartisanship, likes of which we haven't seen any other time in our history. as catherine alluded to, people kill each other over politics. there were doing grounds -- be willing -- dueling grounds. think of the sitting vice- president of the united states, aaron burr, murdered his political enemy over politics. our last vice-president had a little problem with a gun, --
[laughter] we have been going through a bad patch in the last 60 years, but i do not think it is anything like time we're talking about. -- like the time we're talking about. >> i think you're touching on something that is very important. our people understood that for politics to work, you need the official sphere of action which would be the debates in the treaties and the pieces of paper, but you need what they called the social sphere but we would call the un officials fear which is a sphere of process. -- unofficial sphere which is a sphere of process. you needed that sphere what has happened in the mahler the world is that because it is almost always associated with women,
men have not taken up the importance of that. washingtonians still have to learn that at some point, you have to stop work and go put on a pair of high heels and go out to dinner. you need that unofficial sphere of politics. all these women knew that even though abigail adams was not the best at it. they understood the dual nature of that and that is what is gone. >> can you speak to what drew you back in time and to your women that you researched and wrote about so wonderful. >> we want 21st century at the time. >> the question is, what was the draw for each of the panelists to go back and research these women and the historians -- and
the historians of their work. >> -- and be historians of their work. >> first of all, i think i am doing penance. when i was doing my graduate work, i did not know what the little big top was. i got into serious debates with my fellow graduate students about civil war history. i was remembering a very passionate debate of looking at documents. i remember this violent argument over it. 20 years later, going to lincoln dinners, i would pay about abraham lincoln and the contribution. i felt that the cartoonish image needed correction, but i will say that my next book will be a
short portion of the emancipation proclamation. i thought it was time to take another look at mrs. lincoln. >> i first came to mount vernon 30 years ago. it was a very different place, then. let me say, the changes in 30 years at mount vernon in terms of interpretation and what is available have been incredible. i have been writing about [unintelligible] she was an easy person to write about. she wrote very peppy letters and she did not burn them. [laughter] i remember exactly when, the bicentennial of the white house , i was sitting with some people at mount vernon and looking at people on stage in noticed they were mostly men in the only ones representing women were dolly
madison and abigail adams. i said to my friends, where is martha washington and they said that nothing has been done yet. i thought that i could do that. and then i thought for the first time that she was not actually born 70 years old. who was she before they got their hands on her. i did not start knowing a lot because nobody knew a lot. i wanted to find out, and once i found out, i wanted to tell everybody else. >> i cannot claim to be a historian. i am a journalist. as a journalist, i have covered women in politics. as was alluded to earlier, i grew up in politics. my father was in congress and then my mother. i saw the tremendous influence
>> so good morning, everyone. once again there have been a series of introductions already. but we certainly want to greet your eminence, cardinal shawn, president and mrs. obama, president and mrs. bush, president clinton and secretary clinton, president carter and mrs. carter and our vice president and mrs. biden. all of us in church today dear friends of ted. and especially you, vicki, caroline, kara, teddy, patrick, your mother joan. a sister everyone in the world would love to have in you, jean, with your devotion. dr. larry and a great team of doctors and nurses.
and so many helpers at hyannis port these last weeks and months. and most especially the youngest of ted's gang, gracie and max, kiley and teddy. in the catholic tradition, the mass of christian burial weaves together memory and hope. the worship of the church locates us precisely between a past we referentially remember and a future in which we firmly believe. we gather today as a community drawn from across the nation to entrust the life of senator edward kennedy into the hands of god and to provide you consolation and support. we bring with us treasured memories of ted kennedy. memories not only of a national leader and a master legislator but of a beloved husband, a
great father, a terrific grandfather, a sweet uncle, a dear friend, a trusted colleague, a wise mentor. we enter this church with these memories acutely alive for each of us. we gather to treasure the memory and to share our sense of loss. the liturgy of the mass, its scripture, its music and ritual are designed to acknowledge these memories to provide a context of prayerful and communal reflection in which they can be held as deeply personal and sacred. but the liturgy does not leave us in the past alone. it points us in christian hope to the future. our prayer expressed in confidence and hope is about the destiny of our brother and
friend with his future with god. the biblical readings of the day selected by ted and vicki and his family move us from memory to hope, from the past to the future. the first lesson of the mass, speaking the words of wisdom. the souls of the just are in the hand of god. we believe our lives are in the hands of god in life and death. st. paul states our case with his usual confidence. and caroline proclaimed it with such beauty. for i'm sure that neither death nor life nor angels nor principalities nor things present nor things to come nor powers nor height nor depth nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from
the love of god in christ jesus our lord. that confidence, the triumph of life over death, is rooted in the central belief of christian faith, the resurrection of christ the lord. the christian conviction upon which all faith is built is that christ, who passed through death to new life, will, as he promised, lead us through death to new life as well. on this day we hold the memory of the life of senator kennedy with reverence and with respect. we also recognize that like all of us his life has a destiny beyond history. the destiny of risen life in the kingdom of god. the gospel of matthew from which i proclaimed focuses our
attention on this destiny by reminding us of the words of jesus and the tests he posed for entrance into that kingdom. oh come, blessed of my father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you of the foundation of the world. for i was hungry and you gave me food. i was thirsty and you gave me drink. i was a stranger and you welcomed me. i was naked and you clothed me. i was sick and you visited me. i was in prison and you came to me. in this text, on this day, our memories and our hopes converge. these works of the kingdom were daily concerns of the public life of teddy kennedy. they were the fabric of his mind, heart, and hands as he sought to realize them in a
society dramatically more complex than the society in which jesus spoke these words. our confident, christian hope is that the fruits of his work as a political and public figure have well prepared him for god's kingdom. as we together reflect upon ted's life, the choice of this incredible basilica church as the place for his funeral provide a fitting context for our thoughts and prayers. this reminds us of two important aspects of the senator's life and work. first we've come to know since the days of his edge that when critical illness threatened his own daughter, he came to this place daily to pray. he came here like generations before him, seeking the healing hand of god.
we're reminded that the most public personalities also live a very personal existence. this church was the place of private prayer for a public man. second, this church sits in the midst of neighborhoods where the important issues that animated ted kennedy's career are so frankly visible. the needs of the poor, social justice, health care and education, housing and the minimum wage. the senator's choice of this church for his funeral mass resonates with the meaning and the purpose of his life and work. as i search for words which could capture his life, i've been struck by how many different perspectives could be brought to bare upon it by so many gathered today.
by vicki and their children, by the many members of the kennedy clan, by the presidents, by members of both houses of the united states congress and of both political parties, by dedicated staff who served him over four decades, and as we've seen these last days, especially by the citizens of massachusetts, whom he faithfully served. the extraordinary diversity of these many memories is rather overwhelming. it is neither my place nor within my power to capture them all. i know ted and vicki and their family as their parish priest. my sources of reflection are the scriptures and the pastoral experience of ministering to ted and his family. my vision, like yours, can't encompass the toe take the --
totality of his life. my memories seem to the lends of a catholic parish priest are about how one person, one man, a husband, a father, a public figure, a catholic, and a citizen tried to meet the tests of the kingdom of matthew's gospel. to know him as a pastor was to be introduced to the kennedy family. the senator led the family. he was supported by it through a long and complex career. and he was sustained by your family as his life entered its final chapter. all of us know by instinct the fundamental importance of our families. none of us expect to face the great responsibility of being the most visible figure in a family whose narrative is woven through the history of our
nation over the past century. as a priest, i saw him treasure and draw strength from his family. like others here today, i watched as his role of this family's leader required that he sustain them all through life and death, through victory and tragedy. it is not too much to say that his abiding political and legislative concern for the welfare of families, especially those of the socioeconomic edge of american life, was rooted in his own experience of a vibrant and caring family life. senator kennedy was a tower of st senator kennedy was a tower of strength to his family and a towering presence on the american public landscape. others are better suited than i to describe in detail his legacy.
as a pastor, my description seeks to review the his public life in his personal convictions. no person's faith is easily summarized. the broad demands of christian discip discip discipleship are clear enough in principle. few of us, if any, meet them all. but we are all called to pursue the full vision of faith even as we recognize the inevitable gap between what we are called to and what we in fact achieve. indeed, most of us have a strong suit matched with gaps and struggles. there are few packages which express this more pointedly and poignantly than senator kennedy's own eulogy for his dear brother robert at st. patrick's cathedral in 1968,
when he said, "my brother need not be idealized or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life. to be remembered simply as a good and decent man who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it." like both of his brothers, ted kennedy was a public man with a public faith. his strongsuit was a central stream of biblical faith expressed both in the hebrew and christian scriptures. his strongsuit was the faith of the great hebrew prophets of isiah, jeramiah, amos. it was they who tied the quality of faith to the character of
justice in the land. it was they who stood in defense of the widows, the orphans and refugees of their time. the striking resemblance of these groups to the women, children, families and immigrants in poverty of our time did not escape ted kennedy's notice. his public faith was reinforced and nurtured in the christian scriptures. we've heard matthew today. now we should remember the gospel of luke commonly known as the gospel of the poor. the jesus of luke knew the poor of his time well. he was in their midst often. he advocated for them, defended them, and reminded his disciples of god's special concern for
them. at the heart of luke's gospel stands the person of mary, the mother of jesus. senator kennedy had a special respect for her great prayer, a prayer which simultaneously glorified god for his blessings and promised god's protection of the poor. in his final days, the senator and vicki and i wondered this prayer in terms of the meaning of his life's work. our blessed mother proclaims these sentiments. god's mercy is from age to age to those who fear him. he's shown mite with his arm and dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. he's thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. the hungry he's filled with good things. the rich he has sent away empty.
ted kennedy, of course, lived in a far more complex world than that of jesus' time and place. but that challenge evoked from him his public gifts. he understood the complexity of the society in which he lived. he was renowned for his mastery of the data, for his sense of the possible and for his genius at crafting law and policy in ways which benefited the widow and observances -- orphans of our time. again, he described the motivation of his public life in light of the legacy of his brother robert's vision when he spoke these words. "our future may be beyond our vision, but it is not completely beyond our control." it is the shaping impulse of
america that neither fate nor nature nor the irresistible tides of history but the work of our hands matched to reason and principle that will determine our destiny. every public figure has a uniquely personal life distinct from but not totally separated from the public world of work and achievement. others have remembered in the past week -- and we'll address this morning -- the record aftef achievement of ted kennedy. i'd like to close with this reflection. as one lives more toward the final moments of life, the public character fades and the deeper personal convictions and commitments which have sustained a person through a long and
complex life come to occupy the center stage. this was the case in the last few weeks and months as ted and vicki together face the last measure of his life. like any priest would be, i was present for them and with them. the faith which had sustained a visible, historic presence now became the faith which teaches us how to see this life and light of the next life. the gift of the eucharist which jesus promised would nourish us in this life and would carry us to eternal life became a source of even greater strength and comfort for ted and vicki. as the end approached, the convictions that sustained senator ted kennedy through so
many public struggles became the source of quiet confidence in a truth taught by his church at the second vatican council in these words. we do not know the time for the consummation of the earth and of humanity, but we are taught that god is preparing a new dwelling place and a new earth where justice will abide and whose blessedness will answer and surpass all the longings for peace which spring up in the human heart. today at this holy eucharist we pray. we are confident that ted kennedy has enderred -- enderred this new dwelling of god. for as the liturgy today inspires us, lord, for your
>> now we pray to the lord not only for teddy but for all of us he leaves behind. among his brothers and sisters he was the youngest. so now his grandchildren, his younger nieces and nephews, and the youngest child of one of his nieces will offer the intersessions. each time please respond "lord hear our prayer." teddy served for 47 years of the and he summoned us all to service. and so these intersessions are in his words for the work in his
life is in our prayer for our country and our world. >> for my grandfather's commitment and persistence not to out worn values but old values that will never wear out. never without human need. that circumstances may change but the work of compassion must continue. we pray to the lord. >> lord hear our prayer. >> for my grandpa, that we will not in our nation measure human beings by what they cannot do but instead value them for what they can do. we pray to the lord. >> lord hear our prayer. >> for what my grandpa called the cause of his life as he said
so often, in every part of this land, that every american will have decent quality health care as a fundamental right and not a privilege, we pray to the lord. >> lord hear our prayer. >> for a new season of hope that my uncle teddy envisioned will we rise to our best ideals and close the book on the old politics of race and gender, group against group and straight against gay. we pray to the lord. >> lord hear our prayer. >> for my uncle teddy's call to keep the promise that all men and women who live here, even strangers and newcomers, can rise no matter what their color, no matter what their place of birth. for workers out of work, students without tuition for college and families without the chance to own a home. for all americans seeking a better life and a better land.
for all of those left out or left behind. we pray to the lord. >> lord hear our prayer. >> for my uncle's stand against violence, hate and war and his belief that peace can be kept through the triumph of justice and the truest justice can come only through the works of peace. we pray to the lord. >> lord hear our prayer. >> as my uncle teddy once told thousands and millions, may it be said of us in dark passages and bright days and the words that my brothers quoted and loved, that have a special meaning for us now. i am part of all that i have met, though much is taken, much advise. that which we are, we are. one equal temper of heroic hearts, strong in will to strife to seek, to find and not to
yield. we pray to the lord. >> lord hear our prayer. >> for the joy of my uncle teddy's laughter, the light of his presence, his rare and noble contributions to the human spirit, for his faith that in heaven, his father and mother, his brothers and sisters, and all who went before him will welcome him home. and for all the times to come when the rest of us will think of him, cuddling affectionately on the boat, surrounded by family as we sailed in the nantucket sound. we pray to the lord. >> lord hear our prayer. >> for my grandfather's brave promise last summer that the work begins anew, the hope rises again, and the dream lives on. we pray to the lord.
>> lord hear our prayer. >> lord our god, giver of peace and giver of souls, hear the prayers of the redeemer jesus christ and the voices of your people whose lives were purchased by the blood of the lamb. forgive the sins of all who sleep in christ and grant them a place in your kingdom. we ask this through christ our lord. >> amen. ♪ ♪
times to live with this name, i have never been more proud of it than i am today. your eminence, thank you for being here. you've graced us with your presence. to all the musicians who have come here, my father loved the arts and he would be so pleased for your performances today. my heart is filled, and i first want to say thank you. my heart is filled with appreciation and gratitude to the people of massachusetts my father's loyal staff, who in many ways my dad's loss is just as great for them as it is for those of us in our family. and to all of my father's family and friends, who have come to pay their respects, listening to them speak about how my father impacted their lives and the deep personal connection that people felt with my dad has been an overwhelming emotional experience.
my dad had the greatest friends in the world. all of you here are also my friends. and his greatest gift to me. i love you just as much as he did. sarah brown, tashep, president obama, president clinton, secretary clinton, president bush, president carter, you honor my family by your presence here today. i remember how my dad would tell audiences years ago, i don't mind not being president. i just mind that someone else is. there is much to say and much will be said about ted kennedy, the statesman, the master of the legislative process and bipartisan compromise, work horse of the senate, beaken of social justice, and protector of the people. there's also much to be said
and much will be said about my father, the man, the story teller, the lovor of costume parties, the practical joker, the accomplished painter. he was a lover of emping french, cheese, wine, and women. he was a mountain climber, navigator, skipper, tact tigs, airplane, pilot, radio rider, ski jumper, dog lover, and all around adventurer. our family vacations left us all injured and exhausted. he was a dinner table debater and devil's advocate. he was an irishman and a proud member of the democratic party. here's one you may not know. out of harvard he was a green bay packers recruit but decided to go to law school instead. he was a devout catholic whose faith helped him survive
unbearable losses, and whose teachings taught him that he had a moral obligation to help others in need. he was not perfect. far from it. but my father believed in redemption. and he never surrendered. never stopped trying to right wrongs. be they the results of his own failings, or of ours. but today, i'm simply compelled to remember ted kennedy as my father and my best friend. when i was 12 years old, i was diagnosed with bone cancer and a few months after i lost my leg there was a heavy snowfall over my childhood home outside of washington, d.c. and my father went to the garage to get the old flexible flier and asked me if i wanted to go sleding down the steep driveway. and i was trying to get used to my artificial leg and the hill was covered with ice and snow. and the hill was very slick p. and as i struggled to walk, i
slipped and i fell on the ice and i started to cry. and i said, i can't do this. i said, i'll never be able to climb up that hill. and he lifted me up in his strong, gentle arms, and said something i will never forget. he said, i know you can do it. there is nothing that you can't do. we're going to climb that hill together. even if it takes us all day. sure enough, he held me around my waist and we slowly made it to the top. and, you know, at age 12 losing your leg pretty much seems like the end of the world. but as i climbed on to his back and we flew down the hill that day, i knew he was right. i knew i was going to be ok. you see, my father taught me that even our most profound losses are surviveable.
and that is -- it is what we do with that loss, our ability to transform it into a positive event, that is one of my father's greatest lessons. he taught me that nothing is impossible. during the summer months when i was growi up, my father would arrive late in the afternoon from washington on fridays. and as soon as he got to cape cod he would want to go out and practice sailing maneuvers in anticipation of that weekend's races. and we would be out late and the sun would be setting and family dinner would be getting cold and we would still be out there practicing our jives and our spin acker sets long after everyone else had gone ashore. one night, not another boat in night on the summer sea, i asked him, why are we always the last ones on the water? teddy, he said, you see, most of the other sailers that we race against are smarter and more talented than we are.
but the reason, but the reason why we're going to win is that we will work harder than them and we will be better prepared. and he just wasn't talking about boating. my father admired perseverence. my father believed that to do a job effectively required a tremendous amount of time and effort. dad instilled in me also the importance of history and biography. he loved boston and the amazing writers and philosophers and politicians from massachusetts. he took me and my cousins to the old north church and to waleden pond and to the homes of he remember min melville and natsdz anal haw thorn and the berkshires. he thought that massachusetts was the greatest place on earth and he had letters from many of its former senators hanging on his walls. inspired by things heroic. he was a civil war buff.
when we were growing up he would pack us all into his car or rented camper and we would travel around to all the great battle fields. i remember he would frequently meet with his friend at a particular site on the anniversary of an historic battle just so he could appreciate better what the soldiers must have experienced on that day. he believed that in order to know what to do in the future you had to understand the past. my father loved other old things. he loved his classic wooden schooner, the myia. he loved white houses and his 1973 pontiac convertible. my father taught me to treat everyone i meet, no matter what station in life, with the same dignity and respect. he could be discussing arm control with the president at 3:00 p.m. and meeting with the union carpenter on fair wage legislation or a new bed fered
fisherman on fishries policies at 4:30. i once told him that he had accidentally left some money. i remember this when i was a little kid. on the sink in our hotel room. and he replide, teddy, let me tell you something. making beds all day is back breaking work. the woman who has to clean up after us today has a family to feed. and that's just the kind of guy he was. he answered uncle joe's call to patriotism, uncle jack's call to public service, and bobby's determination to seek a newer world. unlike them, he lived to be a grand father and knowing what my cousins had been through, i feel grateful that i have had my father as long as i did. he even taught me some of life's harder lessons. such as how to like republicans.
he once told me he said, teddy, republicans love this country just as much as i do. i think that he felt like he had something in common with his republican counter parts. the vagueries of public opinion. . the constant scrutiny of the press. the endless campaigning for the next election. but, most of all, the incredible shared sacrifice that being in public life demands. he understood that the hardship that politics has on a family and the hard work and commitment that it requires. he often brought his republican colleagues home for dinner, and he believed in developing personal relationships and honoring differences. and one of the wonderful experiences that i will remember today is how many of his republican colleagues are sitting here right before him. that's a true testament to the
man. and he always told me that always be ready to compromise, but never compromise on your principles. he was an idealist and a pragmatist. he was restless but patient. when he learned that a survey of republican senators named him the democratic legislature that they most wanted to work with, and that john mccain called him the single most effective member of the u.s. senate, he was so proud, because he considered the combination of accolades from your supporters and respect from your sometime political adversaries as one of the ultimate goals of the successful political life. at the end of his life, my dad at the end of his life my dad returned home. he died at the place he loved more than any other, cape cod. the last months of my dad's life were not sad or terrifying but
fulfilled with profound experiences. a series of moments more precious than i could have imagined. he taught me more about humility, vulnerability and courage than he had taught me in my whole life. although he lived a full and complete life by any measure, the fact is he wasn't done. he still had work to do. he was so proud of where we had recently come as a nation. and although i do grieve for what might have been, for what he might have helped us accomplish, i pray today that we can set aside the sadness and instead celebrate all that he was and did and stood for. i will try to live up to the high standard that my father set for all of us when he said, "the wosrk goes on. the kacause endures. the hope still lives.
a nation has lost a great senator. my brothers and sisters and i have lost a loving father. when i was a kid, i couldn't breathe. growing up, i suffered from chronic and crippling asthma attacks and the medications they had to give to me were very difficult and gave me a throbbing headache every night that i had to use my nebulizer. now, obviously i wish i did not have to suffer those attacks and endure those headaches. nor did i like having to grow up having a special nonallergenic, nonsmoking room reserved for me whenever we went on family vacations. but as i now realize years later, while asthma may have posed a challenge to my physical health, it propped up my emotional and mental health because it kept my father by my bedside. my dad was always sure to be within reach of me.
and the side effects of the medication meant that he was always holding a cold wet towel on my forehead until i fell asleep again from my heak. as far as the special -- headache. as far as a special effort that i had a special room to sleep in, this usually meant that i got the nicest room and it also ensured that dad was my room mate. i couldn't have seen it at the time, but having asthma was like hitting the jackpot for a child who craved his father's love and attention. when his light shined on me alone, there was no better feeling in all of the world. when dad was away, i often didn't know when he would return. and as a young boy, i didn't know why he wasn't around at christmastime when santa came to the house.
and i really wandered why santa had the same two moles on his face that my dad had. and, in the same places my dad. even after i figured out that that was my dad and the costume finally came off, he still remained to me a magical figure. as a little kid, i didn't look like much of a sailer. but my dad thought otherwise. you see, in sailing there are rules as well, much like government. tireless mundane rules that will surely make you sea sick. the rule was, four people on a boat to race. just four. but my dad of course dug around until he found a rule around the rule. sound familiar to you who
served with him in the senate? kids under 12, he found out, especially scrauny little red heads like me, could tag along. my dad found that rulehat meshed with his mission. he refused to leave me behind. he did that for all of those around the world who needed a special voice as well. when we raced in foul weather there was lots of salt water and lots of salty language. those experiences not only broadened my vocabulary, sure, but they also built my self-confidence. i saw a lot of his political philosophy in those sail boat races. one thing i noticed was that on the boat as in this country there was a role for everybody, a place for everybody to contribute. second, in the race, as in life, it didn't matter how strong the forces against you were, so long as you kept driving forward.
there was nothing to lose. maybe you would even come out a winner. my dad was never bowed. he never gave up, and there was no quit in dad. and looking out in this audience, and looking out at the tremendous number of people who align themselves along the roadway, coming up from the cape, throughout boston when we went around, who waited in line for hourso see his casket as they came through the j.f.k. library, there's no doubt in my mind that my dad came out a winner. i want to thank all of you for the amazing tribute that you've given my father in the last several days. and i want to say just as proud as i was to be a crew on his sailboat, i am forever grateful for the opportunity to have worked with him in the united states congress as his colleague. i admit, i used to hang on to
his t shirt and his coat sleeve on the capitol when i was just a little boy. so when i got a chance to serve with him on capitol hill, all i needed to do was set my compass to the principles of his life. my father and i were the primary sponsors of the mental health parity and addiction equity act which was signed into law last year. this bill represented not only a legal victory for 54 million americans with mental illness who were being denied equal health insurance, but as one of those 54 million americans, i felt he was also fighting for me to help ease the burden of stigma and shame that accompanies treatment. i will really miss working with dad. i will miss my dad's wonderful sense of self-dep kating humor. when the far right made dad their poster child for their attack ads, he used to say, we kennedy sure bring out the best in people. and when he first got elected
and my cousin joe was a member of congress, and i came to congress, dad finally celebrated saying, finally, after all these years, when someone says who does that damned kennedy think he is, there's only a one in three chance they're talking about me. most americans will remember dad as a good and decent, hard charging senator. but to teddy, currin, carol line, caura and i, we will always remember him as a loving and devoted father. and in the 1980 campaign, my dad often quoted robert frost at the conclusion of every stump speech to indicate thead to go on to another political event. he would paraphrase the line from the road less traveled. the woods are lovely, dark, and deep, and i have promises to keep and miles to go before i
sleep and miles to go before i sleep. well, dad, you've kept that promise both literally and figuratively to be your brother's keeper. now it's time for you to rest in peace. may your spirit live forever in our hearts. and as you challenged us so many times before, may your dream for a better, more just america, never die. i love you, dad. and you will always live in my heart forever. [applause]
>> your emmens, vicky, carea, edward, patrick, currin, carol line, members of the kennedy family, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens. today we say good-bye to the youngest child of rose and joseph kennedy. the world will long remember their son edward as the heir to a waiting legacy. a champion for those who had none. the soul of the democratic party.
the lion of the united states senate. the man who graces nearly 1,000 laws, who pened more than 300 laws himself. but those of us who loved him and ache with his passing know ted kennedy by the other titles he held. father, brother, husband, grand father, uncle teddy, or, as he was often known to his younger nieces and nephews, the grand form auge, or the big cheese. i, like so many others in the city where he worked for nearly half a century, knew him as a colleague, a mentor, and above all as a friend.
ted kennedy was the baby of the family who became its pate remark. the restless dreamer who became its rock. he was a sunny joyful child who bore the brunt of his brothers teasings but learned quickly how to brush it off. when they possed him off a boat because he didn't know what a jib was, six-year-old teddy got back in and learned how to sail. when a photograph asked the newly elected bobby to step back at a press conference because he was casting a shadow on his younger brother, teddy quipped, it will be the same in washington. that's the spirit of resilience and good humor which would see teddy through more pain and tragedy than most of us will ever know. he lost two siblings by the age of 16. he saw two more taken violently from a country that loved them.
he said good-bye to his beloved sister, eunice, in the final days of his life. he narrowly survived a plane crash, watched two children struggle with cancer, buried three nephews, and experienced personal failings and setbacks in the most public way possible. the string of events that would have broken a lesser man. it would have been easy for ted to let himself become bitter and hardened, to surrender to self-pity and regret. to retreat from public life and live out his years in peaceful quiet. no one would have blamed him for that. but that was not ted kennedy. as he told us individual faults and frailts are no excuse to give in and no exemption from the common obligation to give of ourselves.
indeed, ted was the happy warrior, as the poest spoke of when he wrote, tempted more, more able to endure, as more exposed to suffering and distress, thence also more alive to tenderness. through his own suffering, ted kennedy became more alive to the plight and the suffering of others. a sick child who could not see a doctor, the young soldier denied the rights because of what she looks like or who she loves or where she comes from. landmark laws that he landmark laws that he championed, the civil rights act, the americans with disabilities act, immigration reform. children's health insurance. the family and medical leaf act all have a running thread.